Hadden cools Murray expectations
Match fitness could be a problem for returning prop
Last Updated: 24/02/09 8:34pm
Hadden: plotting Italy's downfall
Head coach Frank Hadden has warned Scotland fans not to expect too much of Euan Murray when the prop makes his return from injury against Italy on Saturday.
"It's a tough ask for him coming in out of the blue. It's not going to be that easy for him to make the sort of impression that everyone would like him to make."
Frank Hadden Quotes of the week
Hadden has recalled Murray after the tighthead proved his recovery from the rib problem that kept him out of Scotland's defeats to Wales and France in the opening two rounds of the RBS Six Nations.
The 28-year-old came through 80 minutes of Northampton's Guinness Premiership defeat at Wasps on Sunday unscathed.
And his comeback is a boost to Scotland's hopes of rescuing a Six Nations campaign that is developing into a battle to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon.
However, although expectations are high of a player who has been tipped to make the Lions team for this summer's tour of South Africa, Hadden knows match fitness could be an issue.
"It's a tough ask for him coming in out of the blue. It's not going to be that easy for him to make the sort of impression that everyone would like him to make," said Hadden.
"There's no doubt he's a top-quality player and he brings bulk and experience to that row.
"But it's going to be an interesting challenge."
Hadden is also wary of overloading Murray with tactical information, an approach he believes led to Scotland's downfall in their opening Six Nations clash with Wales.
He said: "As you're aware, when you bring guys into club teams to play for the first team, they're familiar with what the club are doing.
"They're familiar with the line-outs, the codes, the structures and all that sort of thing.
"When you bring guys in at international level, it's not as straightforward as that."
Murray is one of two changes to the team which lost 22-13 in France, with Glasgow captain Alastair Kellock earning an expected recall.
Kellock has not started for his country for two years but a second-row injury crisis made his selection almost inevitable.
"He seemed an obvious choice when Jim Hamilton went down," Hadden said.
"The reason he travelled with us last week is that I told him if anything happened to Jim Hamilton during the week, he'd jump the back row and come straight into the side."
Despite being left without a recognised lock in his entire squad when Hamilton went off injured early on against France, Hadden has once again gone without a substitute second row.
He insists being allowed only seven replacements means he would always be missing cover in at least one position.
He said: "In international rugby, or top-level rugby, you should have nine subs.
"But we think we've got a bench that can make a significant impact and we think they're a very important part of our team."
Hadden is desperate to avoid a third successive Six Nations defeat to Italy, a result which would put his own position in real jeopardy.
"Last year, I thought we played pretty well and should've come away with a win in Italy," he added.
"But this time we know that we've got to, first of all, lay the platform for us to play in a manner than we think we're capable of."
"We're determined to play a significant part in this championship and we know we've got to get off the mark this weekend."